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Why the NFL Scrapped Pass Interference Replay Review for 2020

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After its introduction in 2019, the NFL's pass interference replay system will not return in 2020.

The NFL's one-year experiment wasn't very successful, so the league scrapped it in May. Shortly after the announcement, Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay told SiriusXM NFL Radio that no one cared to bring it to a vote since the rule received little support.

"Nobody is putting forward the OPI/DPI review again so that dies a natural death," McKay said. "In my opinion, we were trying to apply something that we've always been fearful of. We didn't know what the total outcome would be, but we were always fearful of putting a totally subjective play into replay."

McKay added that the NFL tries to focus replay on objective questions like if the ball touched the ground or a player's foot touched the sideline.

Now, pass interference will be determined by officials on the field instead of the league officiating office reviewing it.

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So why did the NFL introduce pass interference replay review?

It all started with the famous no-call that had a hand in ending the Saints' 2019 playoff run.

With under two minutes left in the NFC Championship, with the game tied at 20 apiece, quarterback Drew Brees attempted to throw a pass to Tommylee Lewis on third and 10. However, the Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman knocked down Lewis before the ball reached him. Despite the clear penalty, the referees missed the pass interference call.

The Saints had to settle for a field goal, which made the score 23–20 and gave Los Angeles one last drive attempt. The Rams then tied up the game with a field goal with 15 seconds to play. In overtime, Los Angeles punched its ticket to Super Bowl LIII with a 57-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein.

The missed call set off a firestorm of criticism from the Saints, fans and NFL players. The league decided to test pass interference replay review for one year–the 2019 season–and the change initially appeared to be a positive one. But the implementation of the rule wasn't well-received, and just 13 of 81 pass interference challenges were successful in 2019. 

With the 2020 season underway, the one-year replay rule is left in the dust.